Garlic Weed Management

garlic weed management


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Important weeds in garlic and how to control them efficiently

An important growing technique when growing garlic is weed management. Garlic plants are generally competing poorly with weeds, especially during the first developmental stages, due to the relatively thin and upright growth leaves. As a result, the plants may often suffer from weeds (if left uncontrolled), which compete with plants in terms of space, access to sunlight, water, and nutrients. The presence of weeds will have a negative impact on the yield of bulbs (up to 80% losses), as well as on the quality of the cloves. All garlic growers must have a suitable integrated weed management program, which may differ significantly between countries, law framework, means of production, industry at which the product targets, etc. 

Some garlic farmers cover the part of the soil that is located between the plant rows with a unique black mat. They also cover the space between the young plants inside the row with it. The black mat prevents the development of weeds while increasing the soil temperature. Alternatively, some smallholder farmers may apply mulch (5-7.5 cm or 2-3 in). However, in most cases, garlic growers perform one pre-planting plowing/tillage to prepare the seedbed and eliminate perennial weeds. The stale or false seedbed technique could also help control annual weeds 2-4 weeks before the crop is planted. Fumigation can also reduce weed seeds’ viability, especially in fields with large problems. After the emergence of the crop, it is possible to perform shallow cultivation to control the weeds growing between the row and hand hoeing for the ones growing between garlic plants. In all cases, farmers should be careful not to harm the bulbs and the shallow root system of the garlic plants. In conventional farming, there is also the option of herbicides. While there are not many registered herbicides for garlic, chlorthal-dimethyl is a widely used, post-planting herbicide with residual activity targeting many broad-leaved and grass weeds. However, all herbicide applications should have been completed before the bulb-development stage. Finally, using competitive, fast-growing crops in rotation with garlic can help decrease the pressure and population of weeds in the field. 

Some common and difficult-to-control weeds in garlic fields are the:

  • Bermuda grass (Cynodon dactylon)
  • Nutsedge or Nut grass or Motha (Cyperus rotundus)
  • Field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis)
  • Field Pennycress (Thlaspi arvense)
  • Johnsongrass (Sorghum halepense)
  • Bathua (Chenopodium album)
  • Clovers (Trifolium repens)
  • Canada thistle (Cirsium arvense).


Verma SK, Singh T. Weed control in kharif onion (Allium cepa L.). Ind. J. Weed Sci. 1996; 28(1-2):48-51. 

Further reading:

Garlic Plant information and Variety selection

General information and nutritional value of Garlic

Growing garlic in your backyard

Growing Garlic Commercially – Complete Growing Guide for Garlic from Start to Finish

Soil Requirements, Soil Preparation, and Planting of Garlic

Garlic Water Requirements and Irrigation Systems

Garlic Fertilization Requirements

Garlic Pests and Diseases

Garlic Weed Management

Garlic Harvest Yield and Storage


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